This article was published on December 22nd, 2016
Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wants hospitals data to be available to the public to show transparency and to encourage care standards to increase with hospitals learning from their mistakes. The policy has been welcomed by those who have been victims of clinical negligence and have felt that the hospitals own in-house investigations into preventable deaths, were not comprehensive enough.
The changes were announced following a Care Quality Commission report into the death of Connor Sparrowhawk back in 2013. Feedback from the CQC report showed that families and carers effected by hospital negligence were not being treated well by the hospitals after their loved one’s death. According to some statements, during the investigations, it felt like an iron curtain would fall between the family and hospital staff, with answers to questions about the death not being answered and a serious lack of sensitivity and kindness towards grieving individuals.
The family of Pamela Briggs, whose untimely death also resulted in a serious incident investigation, were pleased with the news after the hospitals own investigations into her care were found to be inadequate. A 7-month probe into the case revealed that evidence from a key witness was not taken into account when presenting their findings.
Pamela Briggs’s sister said, “Sweeping under the carpet will no longer be an option and hopefully hospitals will be forced to admit shortcomings and prove they have acted to remedy their failings.”
The CQC report goes on to say that the NHS ‘does not prioritise learning from deaths and misses countless opportunities to learn and improve as a result’. The Health secretary said, “We will ensure that investigations of any deaths that may be the result of problems in case are more thorough and genuinely involve families and carers,
“From next year we will become the first country in the world to publish data on avoidable deaths at a hospital by hospital level.
“And I want to address the issue of how we ensure data published about avoidable deaths is accurate, fair and meaningful, and ensure that the process of publication rewards openness and honesty.”
An NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “We welcome the CQC’s report on learning, candour and accountability within Trusts across England. We will work with the recommendations of the report to ensure appropriate actions are implemented throughout the Trust.”
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